In 2014 she rose like a phoenix and ended Austria’s 48-year wait for their second Eurovision win.

But apparently not even Conchita Wurst can overcome the red tape and barriers put up by UK immigration authorities, who have prevented her Syrian bandmates from entering the country tonight for a planned performance at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.

As The Scotsman newspaper reports, Conchita and her band Basalt were due to perform as part of New Europe Songbook, a set of concerts that highlight links between “established European artists like Conchita Wurst and…artists recently arrived in the continent.”

But the UK Home Office has denied each of their visas. Conchita has decided to stand in solidarity with her friends and colleagues and has withdrawn from the show.

She expressed her dismay on Facebook.

Due to the unfortunate fact that my friends Amjad, Noor and Almonther from Basalt were unsuccessful in their visa application to enter the UK, I am not performing at the Edinburgh International Festival tonight.

We are all very sorry as we were looking forward to being there. Alternatively, we’re recording a video message here in Austria today, and we wish everyone performing, visiting and organizing the Festival a great evening. We’re with you in our hearts!

The news comes as The United Kingdom continues to negotiate its exit from the European Union, and will no doubt heighten perceptions that the UK is moving toward isolation and away from integration.

Each of the band members have lived in Austria for at least two years.

A source close to the band elaborated on Conchita’s position with The Scotsman. 

“This project is about co-operation, about people who start new lives in a new country. If Basalt cannot be there it would feel completely absurd for Conchita to fly without them.”

Festival director Fergus Linehan said the cancellation was completely counter to the ethos of the event.

“The point of this event was its symbolism. This feels awful. This is a very specific project to show the detail of people arriving in our cities, enriching our cultural life and being welcomed here. This is more than just ‘the bass player in the band didn’t get in’. It feels particularly painful because of the symbolism of the concert.”

However, he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Conchita and Basalt performing together at next year’s event.

“We have had to give up for this concert, but we are not going to lie down on this. If it doesn’t come to pass this August, we will invite them to the 2018 festival. We are not going to give up.”

Read all our Austria Eurovision news here

14 Comments
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Steve
Steve
4 years ago

Well done, Conchita! I love the UK, I love Syria. We need to get united to erase hate from the earth. Some people in the West hate Muslims, some Muslims hate LGBT. We need to build bridges to bring up the uneducated and the intolerant and not enlarge the gap.

Twisted French
Twisted French
4 years ago

Well if that’s the law in the U.K then that’s the law. You can go and perform somewhere else. She didn’t criticize the British immigration system, she just said that she’s not coming. She does what she wants. There’s nothing bad with that. There’s not even a negative word in her statement. She’s not coming, that’s all. UK has laws, like any other country in the world. You disagree with the law for a reason, then you go somewhere else.

Steve
Steve
4 years ago
Reply to  Twisted French

Law is made by a group of people. After all we are human beings and we are the same. We need to combat the laws which are in conflict with the rights given us by the Mother Nature .

D
D
4 years ago

I hate politicam correctness. Conchita is a singer not a politician

Rodrigo
Rodrigo
4 years ago

This is Yulia Samoylova Reloaded. Meaning – if you reject us – you are bad person.

goprake
goprake
4 years ago

Holy crap, does she really have to use Syrian musicians so she can look good? “Oh my God look at her she has Syrian friends she’s so f***ing great!”.

Pathetic, especially when she’d be considered an aberration in most Arab countries.

Erasmus
Erasmus
4 years ago
Reply to  goprake

As much as I love Conchita, I agree with you

TJ
TJ
4 years ago
Reply to  goprake

Yeah! Nobody should be friends with syrians to prevent the impression of being pathetic in someones eyes! what a stupid argument! no this is not even worth being called an argument. it’s mere rubbish!

Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago
Reply to  goprake

No, what’s pathetic is your attempt to bash Conchita based on nothing but narrow-minded ignorance and a complete lack of empathy for the horrendous plight of the Syrian people.

Nickc
Nickc
4 years ago
Reply to  Jonas

I agree with you Jonas. These heartless haters have no idea for the extent of the tragedy some people go through

Richardinho
Richardinho
4 years ago
Reply to  goprake

She’s considered an aberration in every country cos – guess what – there are small minded people everywhere. But, yes, Syria is probably a lot less progressed in things like tolerance for transvestitism than the West, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t transvestites in Syria – and therefore we need to support them all the more.

azaad
azaad
4 years ago

Good on Conchita for standing with her bandmates. Tom is a very compassionate person.

Nickc
Nickc
4 years ago

I wonder what kind of potential threat a group of musicians can pose for the UK. Sad, really sad what we have become. But kudos to Conchita for making a statement.

Chessguy99
4 years ago
Reply to  Nickc

The denial was probably based on their shortness of their residence in Austria. Its not the fear of them being extremist, but that they would over stay their visas. Its common for people to use short term visas to skip past normal immigration procedures.